(Bloomberg) -- CVC Capital Partners is exploring options for its controlling stake in Italian drugmaker Recordati SpA, according to people familiar with the matter.

The buyout firm is working with advisers and is in the early stages of studying alternatives including a potential sale or a combination with another business, the people said. It’s informally reaching out to some potential buyers to gauge their interest in a deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

CVC bought its 51.8% holding in Milan-based Recordati in 2018 from the founding family in a roughly €3 billion deal.  

The stake has always been a risk to the share price because “CVC simply does not want to remain a long-term shareholder in the company,” Martial Descoutures, an analyst at Oddo Bhf, said in a note Wednesday. The prospect of a sale may cause volatility in the stock given the lack of visibility on what will happen with the stake, he said.

Shares of Recordati slipped 2.6% to €51.25 at 11:37 a.m. in Milan. Through Tuesday, they had gained about 27% in Milan trading over the past 12 months, giving the company a market value of about €11 billion ($12 billion). The Stoxx Europe 600 Health Care Index has risen about 3.8% over the period. 

Deliberations are in the early stages and there is no guarantee any deal will result, they said. Representatives for CVC and Recordati declined to comment.

The company’s products include treatments for cardiovascular illnesses, urological diseases and cough and cold. 

(Updates to add size of stake in third paragraph, analyst comment in fourth.)

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